Placing a bench in memory of a loved one is a popular way to remember them. This guide will explain what you’ll need to think about if you would like to have a memorial bench and how you can personalise it to commemorate the life of the deceased.
What is a memorial bench?
Memorial benches can offer those who are grieving a sense that they’re giving something back to the community because they know it will be used and appreciated by many people. It also provides a quiet space to sit and reflect.
Where to place a memorial bench
The first decision you’ll need to make is where you’d like to place the bench. You can choose a private place of your own, such as your garden, where you can spend time mourning whenever and however you want to.
Alternatively, you can choose a public place – perhaps a location that holds sentimental value, for example, at the seafront. The choice is yours, but you will need to get permission to place the bench in a public place, and to make sure you follow any rules relating to memorials.
You might like to consider:
- Botanic gardens
- Coastal paths
- National Trust property
Rules and regulations
When you’re choosing where to place a memorial bench, you’ll need to be granted permission from the local authorities to do so first. This could be the local council, churchyard manager, or private land owner if you’d like to place the bench on land owned by another public body or the National Trust.
There may be a cost to be paid to gain permission, so you’ll need to ask about any charges. Local authorities will also be able to tell you if there are any limitations as to where you can or cannot place one.
Once you’ve decided on a location, you’ll need to decide which type of memorial bench you’d like. You may wish to choose a cremation bench, which has ashes stored inside, or you can simply memorialise a standard bench.
How to choose a memorial bench
If you would like to choose a memorial bench to commemorate your loved one, you’ll also need to consider the following:
- Teak: Ideal for coastal benches because it’s tough so it won’t warp, rot or crack even in harsh weather conditions; it also doesn’t require any treatment or maintenance.
- Oak: A wide grained wood that can be weak depending on the weather; care and maintenance will help to reduce cracks.
- Mahogany: A natural material that can quickly show surface cracks; this wood tends to need more maintenance than teak
To help protect it from damage caused by harsh weather conditions, you can treat the bench in one of two ways:
- Oil: Protects and nourishes the wood, perfect for teak
- Varnish: Ideal for protecting hardwood
You don’t have to add any engravings – you can leave it as it is if you wish. Many people choose to add the individual’s name, birth date, and the date they passed away. Most cemetery benches can be engraved to include a special message about your loved one.
You should be able to add a personalised engraving. Some popular examples include:
- In remembrance of
- Never forgotten
- Fond memories of
It’s also important to be aware of any rules or regulations that affect the wording you can include on your memorial bench. These can vary depending on whether you plan for the bench to be placed in a cemetery or churchyard. Your local Funeral Director should be able to provide advice on what you can and cannot include.
Once it’s been placed, the memorial bench will need care and maintenance, depending on the material it is made from. It’s usually the responsibility of the local council or churchyard authority to do this. You’ll need to check with them to be sure.
Advice on choosing a memorial bench
If you would like to choose a memorial bench to commemorate your loved one, please contact your local Funeral Director for further help and advice.
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